Why is a dysphagia diet for some nursing home residents critical?

Patients who are in nursing homes often have very specific orders that must be followed by the people who are responsible for their care. When these orders aren't followed precisely, the nursing home resident can often suffer harm. In some cases, the harm might be fatal. One of the specific orders that nursing home residents might have is the need to have a certain diet. The dysphagia diet is an example of this.

What is a dysphagia diet?

A dysphagia diet is a diet that is made up of foods that are easy and safe to swallow. Soft, moist, small foods are considered part of this diet. For this diet, the patient must be able to eat the food without choking. If meat is given, it must be minced or ground. Pieces of meat larger than 1/4-inch are forbidden on this diet. Foods that are sticky or hard are also forbidden. Nuts, seeds and similar foods are also forbidden.

What is the purpose of the dysphagia diet?

The dysphagia diet is necessary for people who are unable to chew and swallow properly. It is used for people who have dementia or other conditions that make it difficult to eat properly. Failing to follow the dysphagia diet can lead to the patient choking and dying. A recent out-of-state lawsuit covers a nursing home resident who choked on an Easter dinner that included ham because the computer at the facility wasn't working. That shows how serious a dysphagia diet must be taken.

If your loved one was harmed because of a nursing home's inability to follow documented orders, you might choose to seek compensation for the harm your loved one suffered.

Source: Baylor Scott & White Health, "Dysphagia Diet Level 2, Mechanically Altered," accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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